Orproject proposes huge sealed Bubble of clean air for Beijing
See on Scoop.it - Philosophy everywhere everywhen
According to a report by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, environmental conditions in China’s capital are so bad as to be “almost unfavorable for human living.” Officials have recently passed new laws and set aside billions of yuan to try and curb air pollution in Beijing, which has been recording some of its worst smog levels ever. Architecture firm Orproject has proposed the construction of a sealed canopy filled with clean air. Bubbles would cover a park and botanical garden, providing a healthy, temperature- and humidity-controlled oasis.In addition to providing locals with a clean, green sanctuary, Orproject suggests that surrounding buildings could also be connected to Bubble’s “controlled air system.” Apartments, offices, retail spaces and, in particular, medical facilities could all benefit from the idea, were it created. (via Orproject proposes huge sealed Bubble of clean air for Beijing)
An interview with Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex
At a time when advances in science and technology have changed our understanding of our mental and physical selves, it is easy for some to dismiss the discipline of philosophy as obsolete. Stephen Hawking, boldly, argues that philosophy is dead.
Not according to Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. Goldstein, a philosopher and novelist, studied philosophy at Barnard and then earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton University. She has written several books, won a MacArthur “Genius Award” in 1996, and taught at several universities, including Barnard, Columbia, Rutgers, and Brandeis.
Goldstein’s forthcoming book, Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away, offers insight into the significant—and often invisible—progress that philosophy has made. I spoke with Goldstein about her take on the science vs. philosophy debates, how we can measure philosophy’s advances, and why an understanding of philosophy is critical to our lives today.
See on theatlantic.com
See on Scoop.it - Knowmads, Infocology of the future
Using ordinary fishing line, researchers have crafted coiled muscles that could revolutionize prosthetics and robotic exoskeletons.
Next time you spot a muscly athlete showing off at the gym, try out this compliment: “Wow! You’ve got arms like fishing line.”
Though it may not be taken well, it’s actually a flattering comparison. Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have designed super strong artificial muscles by simply twisting and coiling ordinary fishing line. The coiled muscles can lift more than 100 times the weight of a human muscle of the same size, and generate as much mechanical power per kilogram as a jet engine — perhaps offering an inexpensive new material to move prosthetics and robotic exoskeletons.
On a smaller scale, the twisted yarns of polymers could also one day yield clothing with pores that open and close based on temperature, or climate-controlled window shutters.
“There are many types of artificial muscles that have been talked about in the literature for years,” said the study’s lead author Ray Baughman, director of the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas. “Very few are commercially used.”
See on blogs.discovermagazine.com
It’s time to build a bionic brain for smarter research
The structure of the brain reveals a network of massively interconnected electrochemically active cells. It is known that information can be represented by changes of state within this network, but that statement falls far short of revealing how the brain supports thought, feelings, memory, intention and action. How then to solve this problem? The physicist Richard Feynmann famously said “What I cannot create, I do not understand”. A report published today by the Australian Academy of Science proposes applying this approach to the study of the brain by creating a simulating the biological thought process within a new computer system. In short: build a bionic brain. The device could be truly revolutionary. A bionic brain built on biological principles could suggest entirely new approaches to artificial intelligence. It would be a new computer resource inspiring new solutions for fail-safe smart machines. Simulating thought in a bionic brain would also provide a whole new tool with which to investigate the operation of neural circuits. A bionic brain would provide a whole new approach to the study of not just normal mental function, but also mental disorder such as psychosis, addiction and anxiety. It would provide a new resource to examine the causes of these disorders and even test proposed therapies. Ultimately a bionic brain may even provide a solution for victims of brain damage or stroke by outsourcing some aspects of brain function to a prosthetic device. (via It’s time to build a bionic brain for smarter research)